Try a practise interview for retail banking, answering typical questions and also getting tips on how you should answer. There are also other questions students have been asked at banking interviews. Retail banking is also know as high street banking and is largely about managing customers accounts, sellling loans and mortgages etc. It differs from investment banking: see our separate interview on this

RETAIL BANK MANAGERS need good WRITING skills , for example when drafting a letter to reply to the complaint of a customer. They need to be good LISTENERS to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff when a customer is asking for a large loan. They have to be PERSUASIVE when trying to persuade a local company to bank with them rather than a competitor bank, and to be able to both DIRECT and CO-OPERATE with their staff. They need to be good at ANALYSING information and MAKING DECISIONS when, as above, deciding whether or not to make a loan, and of course they need to be NUMERATE, but GCSE maths is probably sufficient here. Employers will be looking to see how you can talk about and demonstrate these skills at your interview. The sort of evidence you could offer includes:

  • CO-OPERATING – planning the schedule for Film Society screenings
  • LEADING – chairperson of a student society.
  • SPOKEN COMMUNICATION – debating society.
  • NUMERACY – budgeting your expenses over the year.
  • MAKING DECISIONS – selecting the appropriate modules for the next academic year.

Before you arrive …

Before your interview research the company and the banking industry: see our banking careers page. You may get verbal and numerical reasoning tests see for examples.

Also see our Interview Reports for banking interviews.

There follow some of the questions that might be specifically asked of students at interviews for retail banking jobs. General interview questions are not asked here, so you might also like to try the general or multiple choice interviews as well for standard interview questions that can be thrown at any candidate. Click on “First Question” to begin. Think carefully about how you would answer, then click on “Show Answer Tips” to get an idea of how you should be answering.


Other questions students have been asked at banking interviews

If you have been to an interview or assessment centre recently please fill in our interview report form to help other students.

About yourself: your study, work experience and skills

  • Where do you see yourself in five to ten years? (HSBC)
  • I was asked quite a lot about my experience of data analysis- I talked about my dissertation and university projects I had done (Royal Bank of Scotland)
  • What have your achievements been to date? (Abbey National)
  • What do you dislike about your present job? (Abbey National)
  • What kinds of people do you like working with (Abbey National)
  • What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with? (Abbey National)

Competency questions. See our page on How to Answer Competency-based Questions

  • Competency based questions based on the core value system of PRIDE. E.g. give an example of a time when you went out of your way for a customer ] (Nationwide)
  • What is the most difficult situation you have had to face and how did you tackle it? (Abbey National)
  • Tell me about a time when you introduced a new concept/idea at work (Lloyds TSB)
  • Think of a time when you made a mistake. What did you do? What was the result? What did you learn from this experience? (Lloyds TSB)
  • Tell me about a time when you have dealt with a difficult situation/a difficult customer at work (Lloyds TSB)
  • Tell me about a time when you worked in a team. How did you delegate what each person had to do? (Lloyds TSB)
  • Describe a time at school when you showed leadership/took control of a situation (Barclays)
  • Describe a time at work when you coped with a difficult problem (Barclays)
  • Tell me about a time where you had to collaborate with others towards success. How did you contribute? What was your role? What problems did you encounter? What would you do differently if you had to do this again? What did you learn? (Royal Bank of Scotland)
  • What makes you the best candidate for the job? (Abbey National)
  • They mark responses against key competencies that you can find information from on their website.  They also told us final interview questions are taken to address strengths/weaknesses from an online personality questionnaire done prior to the assessment centre. (Barclays)
  • Make sure you do a lot of back ground work especially in respect of the STAR answer structure. (Nationwide)
  • Prepare a lot of examples of times you have shown any skills/leadership/ingenuity, be able to talk about each example for 5 mins. (Barclays)

Commercial Awareness Questions. See our page on How to answer Commercial Awareness Questions

  • Tell me three things about RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland)
  • What is a building society (Nationwide)
  • What attracted you to our graduate training programme? (Royal Bank of Scotland)
  • What qualities have you got that would make you a good banker? (Abbey National)
  • What do you enjoy about this industry? (Abbey National)


  • 6 people each given a role as a manager of a Barclays branch in a fictional town. Have to decide on a policy for how to develop business in this town, in line with priorities explained in a presentation to the group beforehand. (Barclays)
  • 1 hour to prepare a 10 minute presentation on why Barclays should hire you, with 10 mins of questions afterwards.   (Barclays)
  • Presentation to just one assessor, said they were looking for presentation skills rather than content. Also a meal with all candidates the previous night and chance to ask questions to previous Barclays graduates, but no assessors present then. (Barclays)


  • Assessment centre is the same no matter which area you apply for: personal banking, technology, HR, etc. (Barclays)
  • Informal in the sense that a previous graduate was the interviewer but this made it difficult because the interviewer jots down notes in between questions and reads questions from a list.  (Nationwide)
  • Failure to prepare is preparation for failure. (Nationwide)